Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV)
What biblical truths are to shape our expectations of the Christian life? Here are two:
Christians live in a fallen world
The “fall” is the way we usually refer to the sin of Adam and Eve and its disastrous effects. This first sin was the beginning of a pattern of rebellion against God our Creator that has run unbroken throughout history and continues today. When we talk about a fallen world, we mean a world that suffers all the effects of human rebellion against God.
Until God takes His followers out of this rebellious world at His final judgment, Christians continue to live in the war zone which is this world. God has not sectioned His people off to have an entirely different experience of life in a fallen world.
Christians follow a crucified Savior
If you follow a big celebrity, you might expect to share in some of his or her glamour. If you follow a great military general, you might expect to share in his victories in battle. If you are in Christ, then, it is reasonable to expect that what happened to Christ will happen to you.
In fact, one of the most common descriptions of a Christian is that we are “in Christ.” You’re so identified with Him that a share of what touched Him touches you. In some sense, you will have a share in His experiences.
As you share in His sufferings, you will also share in His glory. If you see the costly sign of being in Him now, then rejoice, because think what that’s going to mean in the future. There is no greater privilege in this world than to be in Christ, whatever that costs you.
What would you expect to come from choosing to follow a man who was crucified?